RACE DAY IS HERE!
Ok, actually race day was a couple of weeks ago, on July 13th. It was held at Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. It was brutally awesome.
I didn’t sleep well the night before the race — part jitters, part excitement, part hotel, part travel, part caffeine, etc. — but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from putting my best effort into this race. Period. I had been training the past four weeks leading up to the race with John Sales of Hate Mentality Training here in Fredericksburg (check out more here: www.AlphaEliteFredericksburg.com). I had lost the equivalent of a 5-6yr old child in body fat mass, added new PRs to my 1K, 5K, and improved my overall fitness tremendously. I was ready.
UP THE HILL
My start time is almost here. Professional racer David Magida crosses the finish line from the Elite Heat that left at 0800 — he finished in just about 42 mins. Wow. And then then emcee begins his thing: “SPARTANS! ARE YOU READY??” and he goes on to quote the movie some, firing us up even further. I made sure I was at the front of my heat — I *will* conquer this thing. I *will* overcome. “The day will come when the strength of men fail, when the bonds of fellowship are broken… but today is not that day!”
AROO! AROO! AROO!
Now, some clearly overestimated their ability to take the hill — many sprinted up past me, and many of them were seen again by me, as I continued up the mountainside, one hill at a time, and they were resting on the side or doubled-over, heaving. Still others were machines who had sprinted up the hill, slowed to a steady pace, but kept churning out step after step on the long trek up to the top. These were the experienced ones. The others would end up regretting this bursting uphill, as I would find out shortly.
We trudge on for what feels like an eternity…to my quads, glutes & hammies… until we reach a small plateau where we veer off to the right, and to the first obstacle. They were nice to bait us in with the fairly-simple-to-traverse 5′ wall trio I loving call, “Over, Under and Through”. And then, more incline, until we come to the base of a section of “rough” — a very steep, very rugged vertical climb through a narrow tree path up the side of the mountain. It was here where I first experienced the exhaustion factor that hit the early sprinters. Many a guy and gal were heaving for breath on the side of the trail, leaning on a tree, or sitting on a root. And we still had no end in site.
Oh, wait, there’s nowhere to go but up. Three ropes dangle down a rocky cliff, beckoning us further upward. So, we climb. It’s actually not a bad climb, and truthfully, it was a welcome change. Until we got to the top, where awaited us Spartan Race Volunteers, a big storage box, and two piles: one full of 40# sandbells for the guys, and one full of 20# sandbells for the ladies. WHAT!
…to be continued…